Natural Sciences student Sophie tells us about her seven favourite things to do in Durham. If you have a spare hour or two, and want to take your mind off revision and enjoy some fresh air, beautiful scenery or be inspired by some culture, then follow Sophie’s tips for enjoying some much needed time off.
1 – Oriental Museum
The only museum in the North of England entirely dedicated to the art and archaeology of Northern Africa and Asia, Durham’s Oriental Museum offers an intriguing insight into the ancient cultures of the world. Buddha’s Birthday Festival occurs on Saturday 14th May with Asian food and traditional crafts, as well as live performances and activities to help you enjoy yourself before the initial exams! If that wasn’t enough of an excuse, entry to the Oriental Museum is free for Durham University students.
2 – Durham Market
Break up your weekend workload and visit Durham’s market. Held every Saturday, the Market boasts a range of stalls and local food stands which provide a pleasant change to university dining. The food market offers a variety of cuisines from the humble hog roast to veggie specialities, and a wide selection of confectionery! Pick up some of your weekly essentials from the fruit or bread stalls, or browse the vintage clothes and selections of handmade goods.
3 – Somme Exhibition
The Somme Exhibition is running in Palace Green Library until October this year. So why not take the opportunity to soak up some history? One of the largest offensives of World War I, the Battle of the Somme is still remembered 100 years on. This exhibition tells the stories of the people of Durham who were involved in the fight. Don’t miss the talk by Alistair Fraser on 16th May on the experiences of the German army who fought on the Somme.
4 – Rowing Boats
Make the most of the sporadic Durham sunshine by hiring a rowing boat with friends. Head down to the riverside by Klute where you can hire a boat by the hour and enjoy a quirky way to explore Durham further. Bonus if you bring some bird seed to feed the countless ducks, just watch out for University rowers speeding up the River Wear!
Much like Newcastle and their Greggs, Durham has a surplus of cafés ranging from quaint locally owned businesses to big names like Starbucks and Costa. Pop in to any one of them to take a break from work, or bring it with you for a change of study scenery.
Esquires is great for a student budget and offers a variety of hot and cold drinks – don’t forget to claim your student discount! A fan of pancakes or waffles? Lounge is located next to the Market Square and offers a range of made to order desserts to choose from, my personal favourite is their banana chocolate pancakes, perfect with any hot beverage. Alternatively, if cake is your thing, head to Vennels, situated behind Waterstones bookshop, this hidden gem is a great cosy getaway from the hustle and bustle of the library.
6 – Botanic Garden
Located on the hill, the Botanic Garden is a great free break for anyone who just fancies a walk, or brushing up on their plant knowledge. Right now is a great time to visit the Garden as many of the plants are just coming into bloom. Take the time to visit the tropical greenhouse, complete with rainforest rain and orchids, as well as a cacti room. The Garden is always changing so you’ll see something different every time you visit!
7 – Durham Cathedral
Of course we couldn’t do an article on things to do on your Durham study break without mentioning the Cathedral! Built to hold the Shrine of St Cuthbert in 1093, this magnificent building has truly stood the test of time. Take a stroll through history and marvel at the architecture, visit the tombs of saints, or just take a time out in the Cathedral café. For Lego lovers there’s the Lego scale model of the Cathedral that you can contribute to, or for those of you who are fans of Harry Potter, head to the cloisters to discover the place where Harry and co. frequented.